ARIZONA SET TO FACE TEXAS IN UNPRECEDENTED WORLD SERIES MATCHUP

2023-10-29 · 2 min read · MLB/Baseball
MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

USA Today Sports | Arizona Central

For the first time in seven years, neither the Houston Astros nor Los Angeles Dodgers will participate in the Fall Classic. Instead, a series next-to-nobody thought possible.
Texas, a team that is 8-0 playing road games this postseason, squaring off against Arizona, a team who finished the regular season with a record of 84-78 - tied for the worst record of any playoff-bound team.
Perhaps one of the greatest underdog stories in MLB history, Arizona remains strong in their belief that not only do they belong, there is nobody better right now. Two of their top-three highest paid contracts no longer are in the organization (Madison Bumgarner and Nick Ahmed), their bullpen entirely reshaped midway through the season, an injury-riddled starting rotation, and yet here they are - four games away from their second-ever World Series Championship.
On the other side of the diamond will be the Texas Rangers, led by General Manager Chris Young’s thick chequebook and a willingness to make the best team possible, regardless of the cost. Massive contracts handed out to Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Jacob deGrom, and Nate Eovaldi - among others - paved the path forward to playoff success. A perfect combination of these vets, mixed with the likes of youngsters Evan Carter, Jonah Heim, Adolis Garcia, and Josh Jung, have propelled the Rangers to a 2023 postseason in which they have yet to lose a road game.
Two very different teams built in very different ways. Yet with equal opportunity to make history, as Zac Gallen will face off against Nate Eovaldi in Game 1, on Friday night. The Diamondbacks have opted to replace reliever Slade Cecconi with veteran utilityman Jace Peterson on their roster prior to the World Series, while Texas will make no changes and opt for a trio of catchers - Mitch Garver, Jonah Heim, and Austin Hedges.
Games 1, 2, 6, and 7 will take place in Texas, while the three sandwiched in between - Games 3, 4, and 5 - will be out west in the desert. Texas is one of six teams, alongside the likes of Tampa Bay, Colorado, Seattle, San Diego and Milwaukee, to have never won a Fall Classic, though this will be their third attempt at doing so. On the other hand, Arizona’s lone Championship came in the dramatic 2001 World Series thanks to a bases-loaded base hit by Luis Gonzalez off of Mariano Rivera, giving the D-Backs their first and only World Series win.
A number of ex-Blue Jays will be making their presence felt in the World Series this year too, prominently with the likes of Diamondbacks’ Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Texas’ Marcus Semien. Arizona’s Miguel Castro tossed for the Blue Jays back in 2015 too, while Rangers’ bullpen catcher Pat Cantwell played in Toronto’s system from 2017-2019, prior to retiring. Diamondbacks’ Manager Torey Lovullo coached with the Blue Jays from 2011-2012.
Every World Series game will be broadcast by FOX, and have an 8 pm (or soon thereafter) start time. Joe Davis and John Smoltz will handle the TV call of each game, with Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci reporting. On the radio side, ESPN’s Jon Sciambi, Jessica Mendoza, Eduardo Perez, and Buster Olney will be nationally broadcast. Locally, Arizona’s Greg Shulte and Tom Candiotti, as well as Texas’ Eric Nadel and Matt Hicks, can be heard.
For one of these teams, history will be made - either Texas for the first time ever or Arizona during their 25th Anniversary season. Today, it begins.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins

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